We previously discussed Vice President Joe Biden's conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump could unilaterally cancel or delay election day. We then looked at a confusing statement from Jared Kushner that it was too early to say whether election day would be delayed – a statement that was politically unwise as well as not legally sound. Now President Donald Trump is fueling this controversy with a bizarre tweet that we may need to postpone election day. He does not suggest that he can do it unilaterally, but it is another statement that contradicts the constitutional and legal basis for election day. Even if Congress approved another day, it would not vote until a few weeks later. Anything else would require us to raise our roots and branch of control.
Trump tweeted today, “With universal mail-in voting (not postal voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent choice in history. It will be a big embarrassment for the United States. Delay the vote until people can vote correctly, safely and securely ??? "
President Donald Trump proposed postponing the November election until "people can vote correctly, safely, and securely."
This claim has become the monkey's paw for election theories – from one person to another and from one party to another with the same harmful consequences. It ridicules all of its owners.
Trump does not explain, as suggested by Biden, that he could unilaterally stop the election. Indeed, it is impossible. While any president can try to do anything, the courts would quickly prevent such a move. Trump could also try to barricade himself in his office or change his name to Joseph Biden if he loses. But none of that would make a difference. As mentioned in my previous column, it doesn't matter what Trump wants, it's a question of what the constitution would allow. As I said in relation to Biden, such an assertion would require the approval of both houses (which is practically impossible in the current Congress) and would add only a little extra time. Even the proposal to delay the election with Congress approval is as improbable as it is unjustified.
The constitution stipulates that President Trump's term ends on January 20. Period. Even if Congress lost control of its senses and changed the election date, it would only take a few weeks – unless you also want to quickly rewrite the constitution.
It is suspected that this bomb tweet was an attempt to distract from the troubling report that our GDP has dropped nearly 33 percent. However, this is not a trivially shining object that should flow into the national debate. It raises doubts about holding one of the most momentous elections in history.
Our laws are designed to remove such doubts and assure voters that our elections are held in a regular order.
The date of the election has been set by Congress since 1845 and is legally defined as "the Tuesday after the first Monday in November".
Again, any significant delay in the election would also conflict with the 20th amendment, which will wipe out the power of the previous president at 12:00 noon on January 20. Even if Trump persuaded Congress to postpone the election after that date, his term of office ends constitutionally on that date unless he is re-elected.
There is actually a relatively short time between the election day to do a lot. Under 3 U.S.C. §7:
The voters of the president and vice president of each state meet and cast their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after their appointment in a location in each state that that state's legislature instructs.
These votes must then be authenticated, submitted to Congress and counted until the first week of January.
So the window is actually quite short. Even if Congress played around with these dates, it still has a hard stop on January 20. The best thing that could be got out of this traumatic change would be a few weeks.
I have no idea why both parties remain obsessed with this idea. It is comparable to constitutional quackery.
We have a choice on November 3rd. You can rely on it.
This tweet is likely to revive another alarmist theory that Trump might refuse to accept the outcome of the election in an effective coup. President Trump has the right to question the results of a particular state, as was the case against Bush against Gore. However, these challenges occur in a rigid time frame. Here, too, the votes are confirmed and handed over to the congress. The election date will be on November 3, 2020. The state voters cast their votes on the second Wednesday in December. These results will be presented to Congress and counted in the first week of January.
It is time for accelerated challenges and Congress can deal with a particular state's controversial results. The nightmare scenario is an ongoing legal battle over the validity of the votes cast until the inauguration day in January. The Supreme Court tried to avoid this Bush v Gore scenario by effectively shorting further Florida appeals. Ultimately, however, it was shown that Al Gore was likely to win Florida, but that didn't matter due to congressional voting. The Democrats in particular enthusiastically supported other challenges at that time. Therefore, there is some hypocrisy in the current concern of the democratic leaders who pressed for challenges in the 2000 elections.
What cannot happen is that a president unilaterally refuses to accept the results. It's not up to President Trump and the country doesn't have to satisfy him that he lost. Without a court order that prescribes or changes a tabulation, the matter is effectively ended when Congress votes to vote. The secret service on the day of the inauguration is headed by the new president. After a successor's oath of office, President Trump becomes a guest in the White House. If he stays, he becomes an unwanted guest. If he refuses to leave, he becomes an arrested guest.
So here is the long and short. On November 3rd we will have a choice. On January 20, we will either have a new or a reelected president. In other words, we should focus better on who that should be than dealing with these baseless theories.